Sunday, February 28, 2010

No. 85 - Get A Chanel Bag

I've been coveting. For a long time. After 6 years I need not covet any longer!!!

A present from me to me for my 25th birthday. A huge thank you to my friend who graciously agreed to purchase it for me from Paris.

I was so excited I was told to calm down several times while I was unwrapping it.

After much indecision, I've decided.

I'm going to pick up my birthday present from Melbourne today - the prospect of having to wait an additional 2 weeks on top of the 6 years is unthinkable.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hunger Stricken

My housemates have pointed out to me that as the person who's supposed to make sure there's food on the table, I've been terrible for the past few weeks.

Well, it's not entirely my fault that I get struck by the desire to make perfect macarons - thus provide them with batches and batches of imperfect ones, is it now?

Or that I sometimes just don't have any ingredients to actually come up with something? :S

Anyway, shall put in more effort to make sure real food is on the table. Before I get fired from this enviable position. :S

Now... let me just serve up some badly half-boiled eggs...

Saturday Morning

The weekend is here again.

Projects of the week:

1. Discover the exact way to make a perfect half-boiled egg. Frankly, it should only take me about half an hour and about 4 eggs maximum to figure it out. It amazes me that I've managed to put it off for the past 10 years or so.

2. Build a macaron tower. Would have preferred it if I had an actual occasion to showcase it at but looks like I'm just going to make one for fun.

3. Reorganize wardrobe.

I've started watching Grey's Anatomy again. I don't know why - I just got increasingly fed up with Meredith with each passing episode the last time I did, and I don't see how it's going to be any different this time.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Half Of My Heart - John Mayer

I was born in the arms of imaginary friends
Free to roam, made a home out of everywhere I've been
Then you come crashing in, like the realest thing
Trying my best to understand all that your love can bring

Oh, half of my heart's got a grip on the situation
Half of my heart takes time
Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you
That I can't keep loving you (can't keep loving you)
Oh, with half of my heart

I was made to believe I'd never love somebody else
Made a plan, stay the man who can only love himself
Lonely was the song I sang, until the day you came
Showing me another way and all that my love can bring

Oh, half of my heart's got a grip on the situation
Half of my heart takes time
Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you
That I can't keep loving you (can't keep loving you)
Oh, with half of my heart
With half of my heart

Your faith is strong
But I can only fall short for so long
Down the road, later on
You will hate that I never gave more to you
Than half of my heart
But I can't stop loving you
I can't stop loving you
I can't stop loving you
I can't stop loving you
I can't stop loving you
With half of my . . .

Half of my heart
Oh, half of my heart

Half of my heart's got a real good imagination
Half of my heart's got you
Half of my heart's got a right mind to tell you
That half of my heart won't do

Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring
And half of my heart is the part of a man who's never truly loved anything

Half of my heart, oh, half of my heart
Half of my heart, oh, half of my heart
Half of my heart, oh, half of my heart
Half of my heart . . .
As most of you know, I love reading self help books/articles/blogs.

How to Stop Procrastinating. How to be More Organized. Practical Happiness. How to be Your Best Self. He's Just Not That Into You. Etc.

Most of these books are written for girls. So imagine my extreme interest when I decided to read a few articles written for guys.

How To Raise Her Interest Level. When She Is Not Pretty Enough. How To Be The Pursued Instead Of The Pursuer. She Gave You An Ultimatum.

I found it hilarious to read things from the other side of the fence. Apparently, choosing to go into a relationship is to choose to go to war - you have to be prepared.


I can see the similarities.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Been eating everything in sight lately. I guess it's to make up for the several months of not eating much at all.

Managed to finish off 750g of chocolate from America in less than 3 weeks.

It was totally worth every single calorie.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's startling to realize that I still have the ability to swing a tennis racket and actually get a ball across the net several times.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's Sunday night and tomorrow is the start of another work week.

Haven't really achieved much this weekend - just spent it doing chores around the house and talking to Milton.

The next weekend I'm in Benalla I intend to figure out the optimum time needed to make the perfect half-boiled egg. Been wanting to do it for a long while but have been putting it off.
Current songs I'm addicted to:

1. Stay Here Forever - Jewel
2. Today Was A Fairytale - Taylor Swift
3. If You Only Knew - Shinedown

Saturday, February 20, 2010

No. 79 - Bake Perfect Macarons

When I'm troubled in my mind, I tend to divert myself from my actual problems and invest my energy into something productive and even more distracting to keep myself occupied. Which was why I decided to devote this week to the art of baking macarons.

1 carton of egg, lots of 'Why?? WHY is this happening??" and 12 test batches later, the mission was accomplished.

I'm choosing to write a very detailed account about what to do should any of you feel the urge to waste a week of your life chasing after a perfect batch of these irresistably delicious but frustrating cookies.

The basic recipe sounds simple enough:

28g egg white
32g almond meal
53g icing sugar
8g caster sugar

1. Whip egg white with caster sugar until it forms firm peaks.
2. Fold in almond meal and icing sugar until it forms a smooth paste.
3. Pipe into 3-5cm rounds onto non-stick baking paper and bake for approximately 12 minutes in a 150 Celcius conventional oven.

There are copious numbers of pictures of macaron disasters on the internet (all you have to do is Google "macaron disasters") because somehow along the way bad things happened and the macaron failed to well... become a macaron.

Anyway, here's how I acquired the perfect batch of macarons.

1. Place almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and process for a few seconds. Sift mixture and discard bits of almond meal that are left in the sieve - it'll create a rough macaron surface if you keep it in.

2. Add a small pinch of cream of tartar to the egg white and beat on slow speed for the first couple of minutes before increasing to high. When egg whites are at soft peak stage, add the caster sugar in gradually and beat on high until stiff. Very stiff - won't-fall-out-of-the-bowl-when-inverted-sharp-peaks-in-egg-white-stiff.

3. If desired, add some coloring at this point as well as the almond and icing sugar mixture. Fold the mixture until mixture is glossy and when dropped the trail disappears after about 30 seconds. This is the magical phase of macaronage. Usually this is achieved by about 30 strokes of folding for a batch this small.

4. Fill piping bag with mixture and pipe out 3-5cm rounds on non-stick baking paper, staggering the rows for a more even heat distribution. Bang the tray on the counter a few times (go all out and release your pent up anger, existent or non-existent) to flatten out the peaks and bring any air bubbles to the surface.

5. Leave piped macarons on the counter for about half an hour. Rushing it straight into the oven can lead to failure. I don't know why - but that's what happened with me.

6. Which is why I only start setting up my oven after I've finished piping the macarons. I experimented with various permutations and finally discovered that the macarons should be baked on the top rack, with several layers of baking trays and silicon mats underneath it. Something to do with heat distribution. I set my oven on fan-forced at 125 Celcius. (Note: This is a trial and error process, you'd probably have to experiment with a few batches with yours to figure out the optimum set up and temperature)

7. While waiting for the oven to heat up, feel free to do the washing up and maybe a clay facial mask.

8. Once the oven is ready, pop the macarons in. Immediately decrease the heat by about 10 Celcius. Walk away and amuse yourself with something else. 6 minutes later, turn the tray 180 degrees for evenness' sake.

9. By 13 minutes, your macarons should be done. Take them out. They should look like this:

Foot at the bottom and a nice shiny smooth surface. These actually have a few bubbles - I wasn't agressive enough with my tray banging with this batch.

10. Try to detach the macarons once they're cooled. If they're stuck to the paper, don't despair. What I do is return it into the oven for a futher 1-2 minutes, which usually does the trick. I've read other blogs of people who sprinkle water onto the paper and etc but somehow I don't like the idea of water anywhere near my precious precious babies.

11. Sit and admire your beautiful beautiful macarons. Or if they were a failure, start obsessing about what went wrong.

Here's batch no. 13. Orange colored shells filled with chocolate ganache with a splash of Triple Sec.

I can finally sleep tonight. And go back to my original problem.


1. You can double or triple this recipe very easily. This is a very small recipe because...well, when one is testing one doesn't want to toss out huge batches of failures. This recipe yields about 14 shells - or 7 macarons.

2. It will probably take a while to get the perfect conditions to produce the perfect macaron. If you are so lucky as to be successful the first try, I take my hat off to you. If you don't - persevere!

3. If the tops of your macarons brown too quickly (test batch no.3 was perfect except for this annoying problem), try lowering the temperature by maybe 10 Celcius. Yes, it took me another 8-9 batches to figure that out. Silly Dental Girl.

4. The majority of macaron recipes suggest that the egg whites be left out for 24-48 hours. I do not have it in me to be so patient! If I want to make macarons I want to make them now, not 24-48 hours later! Anyway, all my batches were done with fresh egg whites and I still got desirable results so.... but I am assuming it might be better with aged ones but I honestly couldn't be bothered.

5. Always sift your almond meal and icing sugar mixture. Really makes a difference to the smoothness of your macarons.

Weekend Chores

Haven't spent an entire weekend in Benalla for a while. Even when I am in the country during weekends I tend to visit some country town or other. Not this time - it's Benalla all the way.

Not that there isn't anything to do. There's lots to do. Lots to do that I don't want to do. But I shall be persevering.

Intending to:

1. Vacuum.
2. Give Milton a bath.
3. Tidy up room.
4. Do the week's grocery shopping.
5. Reorganize wardrobe.
6. Wash filter in vacuum cleaner.
7. Bake another batch of macarons.
8. Read up on sugar paste modeling again.
9. Laundry.
10. Manicure.
11. Ironing.
12. Mop hardwood floors.

If I get through half of this list, I think I'd be pretty satisfied.

Friday, February 19, 2010

So I've been obsessively baking macarons in search of the perfect macaron.

I've finally managed to get everything right... except for the fact that the tops tend to brown.

Now I'm going to have to tweak my oven from fan-forced to non fan-forced and see try to get the heat away from the tops of these... these... things!!!

I've made 7 batches in the past week and I think I'm going slightly crazy.
Spending this weekend in Benalla - the safest place to be if one doesn't want to spend money.

Unless one chooses to go internet shopping, of course.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Watermelon Carving

We had purchased a watermelon for this purpose a couple of weeks ago but just never got round to carving it. However, last night we dived into it.

I know for certain that every time I carve a watermelon in the future I will always remember my Benalla days.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have gotten it into my system to attempt to make the perfect batch of macarons.

I have succeeded twice before in the past but have decided to bring it to a whole new level.... and managed to crash spectacularly.

First batch was way too big. Second batch was a complete disaster I honestly think they deserve to be in the bin.

This is the third batch, which is acceptable, but still not 'right'.

Looks like there's going to be a lot of egg yolks in the house for a while.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

One of my latest obsessions has been skincare.

I guess seeing the micro-wrinkles starting to appear does that to some people. Might also have to do with the big 25.

Anyway, been trying out a whole range of products.

SK II Miracle Water doesn't seem to work for me. If anything - I think it has actually caused me to break out.

Am now trying out another supposed miracle - Avene Thermal Spring Water.

It claims to help with blotchy sensitive skin. I'm not sure if it's just a placebo or my very religious skincare routine of late but it seems to really work.

Shall revisit this topic in a couple of weeks with more concrete results.

Monte Cristo

Went for a French Style Gateaux course at the Savour School in Melbourne. Enjoyed every minute of it.

Made 4 different types of cakes over the course of 14 hours. I'll post them all up separately. For today, I'll show you Monte Cristo.

Making the textured side of the cake.

Garnishes - white chocolate hearts, white chocolate lace tubes.

Layering and filling - it was an almond sponge cake filled with apple, with raspberry mousse and mint creme.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Je suis dentiste

I have been looking for a new project to get into.

My housemate suggested that I learn French. And I figured - why not? I have so much time on my hands and I have always had a vague interest in it.

Plus if I end up going to Europe in the near future surely it will be of use.

Will tick it off my 101 list when I can construct basic sentences.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sometimes the easiest things to do are also the hardest.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More things that I've churned out of the kitchen.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dua Puluh Lima

I'm officially 25 today.

I'm that little bit older, and that little bit more... Accepting of who I am.

I spent years trying to find myself. Who is Dental Girl?

I think I spent the last year discovering more about who I am and challenging myself to do things I would 'never' do.

I used to feel sorry for myself all the time. Play the victim. Over the past year I have been slowly learning to not do that. To take an active rather than passive role in my life. To not say that circumstance has forced me to be in this situation I'm in. Because 90% of the time, I can change what I had on my plate if I really wanted to.

My wish for this year? That I will be able to find myself enough to help me decide what's the next step in my life.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No. 58 - Make An iPhoto Calendar

Me and my housemates compiled photos from 2009 and made it into a calendar for this year. We then sent it to Apple and made a copy for each of us.

It turned out really well and was actually very reasonably priced - the same as what you would pay for something store bought.

Love looking at what we did last year and reminiscing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My housemate went to the States last month and finally doled out the goodies to us.

I love Peanut Butter Cups. Not sure if it's because I can't get them here and thus the basis of its appeal or they really are amazingly awesome.

And Peanut Butter M&Ms.

Going to have to cherish this hoard.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Box Sets

Ever since forever, I had a thing for boxed sets.

Had always resolved to get the complete collection of Beatrix Potter stories and a couple of months back I got them.

Yes, I am unashamed of the fact that I love fiction written for 5 year olds.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No. 44 - Eat At 50 New Eateries (32/50)

After 5 consecutive weeks of being down in Melbourne, I finally stayed in the country for the weekend.

After much thought, we decided to head to Brown Brothers in Milawa.

3 glasses of wine each and lots of food later, we were very well watered and fed.

The weather was amazing - the perfect weather for a lazy afternoon lunch. And some grammar lessons.

This is the life.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No. 71 - Go Somewhere Remote to Stargaze

I've always lived in places that had a huge amount of light pollution. As a result, I never really had much of a chance to really appreciate what the night sky looked like.

I've been in the country for a year but tonight, we finally decided that it was time to drive out of the town to a really really dark country road on a moonless and cloudless night and be prepared to be amazed.

And amazed we were.

In Melbourne, you might see maybe... several stars. In the Benalla town, you see many stars. Out in a pitch black country lane at night on a moonless cloudless night? Millions. Or what seems like it.

The Milky Way had never seemed so distinct and I never knew there were that many stars in the sky.

I am satisfied.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I've been feeling a bit lost lately.

It's been 4 weeks since I got back from my holidays but it feels more like it's been at least 4 months. Everything seems... Mundane.

It's almost as if I have no purpose in life, that I'm just drifting in a sea of temporary fixes.

I'm not unhappy. But I'm not happy either. Or maybe I am expecting too much - wanting things to be more than what they actually are.

Not even sure what I'm trying to say here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Things That Shouldn't Be In The House

There are some extremely addictive food that I cannot resist. Which means I shouldn't leave them hanging around the house.

1. Nutrigrain.
2. Any form of potato chips.
3. Hot cross buns.
4. Double brie and fig paste.
5. Peanut butter.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Things I have to stop doing:

1. Stalk people on Facebook who have seemingly perfect lives. Very bad for self esteem and emotional well being.

2. Stock house with dangerous foods.

3. Obsessively look for every blackhead and imperfection on face.

Because repeating the same acts and expecting a different outcome is just insanity. So Alcoholics Anonymous claims.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A classmate of mine is getting married in Auckland, New Zealand next month. Spent the night planning what to do when we are there.

The trip seems to be centered around one very important thing.

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